The Koby Mandell Foundation runs a comedy fundraiser twice a year in Israel with comedians who join us from America. It’s June, the comedians are back and I’m thinking about the joke about Rashi I’m going to tell when my husband and I introduce the comedians on stage. Backstage in Modi’in, I tell Kivi Rogers, a brilliant comedian from LA, that I can’t tell a joke.

“What’s the problem?” he asks.

“My timing.”

“Let’s hear the joke.”

I explain who Rashi is and tell him: “Rashi and his wife are going out to dinner. Rashi’s wife goes upstairs and puts on a new dress, a beautiful hat, and her old black boots. She comes downstairs and says: ‘How do I look?’ Rashi says, “I love the dress and the hat, but those boots have got to go.” She says, ‘Always with the commentary.’”

Kivi laughs a little and says, “The timing is not great. It’s that, yes. But there’s something else. Look at it this way: the audience wants you to lead them. As long as that microphone is in the center of the stage, that’s what they’re going to look at. But if you walk up to the stage, grab the mike and plant it onstage; then they know you’re in command. They want to follow you.”

So many of us wait for somebody else to pick up the microphone. We are afraid of commanding the stage of our lives. We’re afraid of being in the center.

It’s okay to be afraid. Even Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, began a recent speech this way: “I know at this stage I should not be intimidated by speaking, but…”

Go ahead. Take the stage of your life.